Editor’s note: The following excerpt from the Inman News Blog asks readers to weigh in on the outcome of the Justice Department lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors. Click here to join the discussion and leave your comments.

Debate: Who loses if DOJ wins?

The ongoing battle between the U.S. Justice Department and the National Association of Realtors continues to strike a nerve among industry participants. The DOJ’s antitrust lawsuit, filed in September 2005, accused the trade group of restraining competition in the industry by instilling overly restrictive policies for how MLS property listings are displayed on the Internet. (See latest update here.) Neither side has given any indication they will back down, with the NAR saying it will rigorously defend the accusations.

Inman News is wondering what readers think of possible outcomes of the lawsuit. If the DOJ wins and NAR is forced to retract policies, what is the likely chain of events to follow? Who wins and who loses?

Greg Swann, a small independent broker with Bloodhound Realty (and guest contributor to the Inman News Blog) made an interesting point on what he says is a likely outcome if the DOJ wins:

“If the DOJ tries to play pirate with the current system, the big brokerages may go all in-house, which they could easily do already. Then there will be no small brokerages,” Swann says.

That brings up an interesting question: What happens to small brokerages if large corporations pull out of the MLS? NAR’s counsel has said one of the reasons for creating online listings policies was to prevent that from happening.

Inman Blog Challenge: What do you think? Who wins, who loses and why? Click here to comment.

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